The beam awaits and The Dark Tower draws ever closer…
We have some news on the upcoming Dark Tower movie based on Stephen King’s magnum opus, eight book tale and some of it has us excited, some has us worried and some has us plain confused.
Shall we get into it? Yes, lets…
It seems that direcrtor Nikolaj Arcel’s movie will – as we knew already – jump right in to the middle of the story. What we didn’t know was that it seesm the story will actually cover parts of ALL the books!
Well, here’s the breakdown of what elements of each book we’ll see in the movie’s narrative:
BOOK I: The Gunslinger (1982)
We will meet Roland, his nemesis Randall Flagg (or Walter O’Dim) and Jake. We will also get introduced to Roland’s journey and quest for the Tower.
BOOK II: The Drawing of the Three (1987)
The theme of Roland’s newly formed family Ka-tet was largely explored in this book, however it will be stripped down in the movie as we will not meet Eddie and Suzannah in the movie.
This has us very worried and confused as, well, Eddie and Suzannah are massive parts of Roland’s journey.
BOOK III: The Waste Lands (1991)
The movie, like this book, will largely focus on Jake’s (Tom Taylor) life in New york and we’re told it will feature the scene set in Dutch Hill where Jake must face a demon in the form of the mansion who guards the portal between our world and Rolaand’s Mid-World.
Vikings actress Katheryn Winnick playJake’s mother, who fears the visions her son is having about a gunslinger, a Man in Black, and an ethereal Tower are signs of a psychological breakdown.
BOOK IV: Wizard and Glass (1997)
Most of this novel is a flashback to Roland’s past, which is being saved for a possible TV series. It did introduce the mythology’s mystical glass orbs, which are windows into other times and places. McConaughey’s Man in Black uses these tools to keep tabs on Roland and the boy.
BOOK Va: The Wind Through The Keyhole (2012)
The movie’s biggest drawing (sorry) from this book is the idea that the Tower can bend reality.
BOOK V: Wolves of the Calla (2003)
The movie features this novel’s Manni village, a group of shaman-like spiritualists who know how to navigate the paths between worlds. Claudia Kim (Avengers: Age of Ultron) will play a member of the tribe who aids Roland. The shift in this book to include more sci-fi elements beyond the mythology’s use of straight-up magic is also something the film version explores.
BOOK VI: Song of Susannah (2004)
The movie will feature the Dixie Pig, a New York hideaway for bloodthirsty, otherworldly beings called the Taheen – these are half-human, half-animal abominations. In the book, it’s a run-down restaurant, but in the movie it looks more like Mall of America filtered through the hellish stylings of Hieronymus Bosch. And it’s covered with the sigul markings of The Crimson King.
BOOK VII: The Dark Tower (2004)
While the movie will unlikely have an ending as it is planned to be the first of a series, it will feature The Sombra Group, a business front in our world (which is known as Keystone Earth) for followers of the Crimson King, an unhinged force of evil who’ll be freed if the Tower falls. In the movie, the Dixie Pig is full of people with “SOMBRA” badges on their work uniforms.
Now here’s a MASSIVE reveal… rememember some time ago I theorised that the movie would in fact be a sequel to the books? And would see Roland on his final journey to the Tower? Well, I don’t want to spoil too much but at the beginning for the movie Roland has the Horn of Eld!
As for the characters themselves, Roland Deschain himself, Idris Elba, has this to say about Roland when we first meet him: “When we meet Roland he’s a bit lost.
“He’s been walking around for a long time, so he definitely feels like a man who’s… coiled.
“Until he meets Jake, he doesn’t have anything to believe in, really. He’s really pent up and releases his soul through [defending] the boy.”
But what attracted him to the role of The Gunslinger? “You could make a version of this film that appealed to a slightly more action-hero type character and I don’t do those films,” Elba said.
“I like to bring a little depth and bring a real character. And what’s been fun is, Nik’s really up for that. So we do takes that are a little bit more commercial, if you like, and we do takes that are fucking deep, like we’re making an independent film. It’s an iconic character. I want to get it right.”
But what about the issue of race? In the books and comics Roland is always portrayed as being white and Suzannah in the early stages fo her joining the ka-tet calls him a ‘honky’ several times. Does that effect his being cast? “it’s better just to treat it like no big deal,” says elba.
“The character that was written in Stephen’s imagination, it could be any color. It just happens to be me and, you know? In the artwork, it just so happens to be a white guy, but I don’t think that makes any difference. I think what’s great about it, if I want to say anything about it, is that it is a sign of the times in terms of a colorless society. People go, ‘A good actor is a good actor,’ you know?”
He goes on to show that he really gets who Roland is: “There’s a mystical element to him. He’s about 200 years old. He’s been around for a long time, and has a deep-rooted connection with the [supernatural] nature of the film. Roland’s completely tuned into that. When you meet him, he’s very much a stoic man, doesn’t want to talk. But when you get to know him, he really knows quite a bit about the world and his world’s history.”
Matthe McConaughey, too, really seems to have a clear idea of who Flagg is, saying he uses Black Sabbath’s lyrics – “Follow me now/ and you will not regret/ leaving the life you led/ before we met” – as his mantra.
He also notes that while Flagg isn’t the Devil, he “sure as hell think(s) about him like the Devil.”
He also says that a big difference between he and Roland is that Roland wants Flagg dead, but Flagg respects Roland: “I revere him!”
He’s really the only true adversary I have. I expose hypocrisies, and he’s the closest to pure there is. It’s his persistent, resilience to be good and altruistic. He’s very precious to me. I almost don’t want to see him go.
“So many times I’m just pumping him up, through sorcery, almost like the man in the corner of the ring for a boxer,’Come on, you can do this, stay in the game,’ because I want to keep him, I want to keep his vengeance to find me. I want to keep that very vital, you know? My want, my need, my mission is to bring down the Tower. My love, my adoration, my muse, my shadow, is Roland.”
So, let’s talk about the fact that, as pointed out earlier, Eddie Dean and Odetta “Susannah” Holmes won’t be appearing in the film?
Well, the maker himself, Stephen King, has chimed in that he’s ok with it: “I know exactly where Akiva always planned to bring them in and that’s cool with me.”
So, it looks to us like the first movie will pick up AFTER the books and will see Roland’s journey begin again but in different ways with, presumably, different outcomes.
We would never have imagined the movie having the guts to be a standalone thing AND a sequel and somethin fresh for the fans but here we are… and while the absence of Eddie and Suzannah has us troubled, the overall idea is so big, ballsy and brave that we can’t help be excited.
What about you?
Directed by Nikolaj Arcel, and starring Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba, Jackie Earle Haley, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee, Katheryn Winnick and Tom Taylor, The Dark Tower opens on February 17, 2017.